Israel to Question Billionaire in Probe

Israel to Question Billionaire in Probe

A criminal state will beget criminals. A team of Israeli police will be leaving for Australia next week to question a prominent billionaire on allegations that Ehud Olmert tried to help him in a bank sale before becoming Prime Minister.

Israel to Question Billionaire in Probe
Friday April 27, 2007 7:16 AM
By MATTI FRIEDMAN
Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) – A team of Israeli police will leave for Australia next week to question a prominent billionaire about suspicions that Ehud Olmert tried to help him in a bank sale before becoming prime minister, a police spokesman said Thursday.

The case is one of several corruption investigation that have dogged Olmert’s year in office. On Wednesday, Israel’s government watchdog agency recommended opening a criminal investigation against him in a separate influence peddling case.

Officers from the police fraud squad will question Frank Lowy in Australia, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Associated Press. Lowy, a real estate developer and friend of Olmert’s, was No. 172 on Forbes magazine’s latest ranking of billionaires.

The investigation concerns Olmert’s role as finance minister in the government’s 2005 sale of a controlling interest in Bank Leumi, one of the country’s largest financial institutions.

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